September 30, 2015

#CanLitChoices for Grade 2 novel studies: youngCanLit in series

There are a lot of teachers of students in Grade 2 (ages 6-7) who are eager to introduce their young readers to literature circles and the joy of reading that comes as a social activity (yes, reading is not necessarily a solitary activity).  But, most teachers have been forced to rely on the old standbys like Junie B. Jones, Jigsaw Jones, Horrible Harry, Katie Kazoo, Cam Jansen and Abby Hayes whose reading levels range from 1.8 to 2.9.

And though I believe that this is a very difficult age for whom to write, needing to limit vocabulary while presenting an interesting read in fewer pages (usually around 100 pages), I believe that there are more and more Canadian authors who are writing these books.  Some are a part of collections, like Orca Book Publishers' Orca Echoes (RL Gr. 2, IL ages 7-9) or Orca Young Readers (RL 2-4, IL ages 8-10) while some are series and others are stand-alone novels.  But, whatever your choice, there's something out there for the Grade 2 teacher interested in focusing on #CanLitChoices and for younger readers itching to read "novels" like older students.

Today's post will focus on early reader series of youngCanLit and a second post soon will focus on stand-alone novels for use in Grade 2 novel studies.

Here now are my favourite early reader series of youngCanLit:


Binky Adventures (Kids Can Press)
Binky, whose first book won the Ontario Library Association's Silver Birch Express award, is a sure winner for children who love cats and want a graphic novel format with their laughs

Binky the Space Cat
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press
64 pp.
Ages 7-10
2009

Binky to the Rescue
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press
64 pp.
Ages 7-10
2010

Binky Under Pressure
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press
64 pp.
Ages 7-10
2011

Binky Takes Charge
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press
64 pp.
Ages 7-10
2012

Binky: License to Scratch
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press
64 pp.
Ages 7-10
2013







Canadian Flyer Adventures (Maple Tree Press/Owlkids)
Seventeen books in this early reader series by Frieda Wishinsky, and illustrated by a number of artists, cover the adventures of Matt and Emily who travel by a magical sled to different times in history at different locations

#1 Beware, Pirates!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustrated by Dean Griffiths
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2007
Aboard explorer Martin Frobisher's ship in the year 1577

#2 Danger, Dinosaurs!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Dean Griffiths
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2007
In the Alberta Badlands during the Cretaceous Period

#3 Crazy for Gold
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Dean Griffiths
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2007
During the late 1800s gold rush in the Yukon

#4 Yikes, Vikings!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Dean Griffiths
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2007
Traveling with Viking explorer Leif Erikkson to Vinland

#5 Flying High!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Dean Griffiths
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2007
First powered flight in Canada with Alexander Graham Bell in 1909 Baddeck, Nova Scotia

#6 Pioneer Kids
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Dean Griffiths
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2007
On the Canadian Prairies in 1910

#7 Hurry, Freedom
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Dean Griffiths
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
 2008
Traveling along the Underground Railroad across the Canada-U.S. border in 1858

#8 A Whale Tale
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Dean Griffiths
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2008
Traveling with explorer James Cook and the Nootka on Canada’s West Coast in 1778

#9 All Aboard!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Leanne Franson
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2008
Building of the Canadian Pacific Railway at its completion in British Columbia in 1885

#10 Lost in the Snow
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Leanne Franson
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2008
Quebec in the mid-1600s

#11 Far From Home
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Leanne Franson
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2008
A ship on its way from London to Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia during World War II

#12 On the Case!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustratd by Leanne Franson
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2009
The western town of Galbraith's Ferry in 1888

#13 Stop that Stagecoach!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustrated by Jean-Paul Eid
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2009
Ontario in the early 1800s when much of the province is still wilderness

#14 SOS! Titanic!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustrated by Jean-Paul Eid
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2010
Aboard the Titanic in 1912

#15 Make It Fair!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustrated by Patricia Ann Lewis-MacDougall
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2010
Winnipeg in the early 1900s

#16 Arctic Storm
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustrated by Patricia Ann Lewis-MacDougall
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2011
The Far North in 1976 with research scientists studying wolf and caribou migration and habitat

#17 Halifax Explodes!
by Frieda Wishinsky
Illustrated by Patricia Ann Lewis-MacDougall
Maple Tree Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-9
2011
Halifax, Nova Scotia, just as the Mont Blanc explodes in the harbour





Elephants Never Forget (Kids Can Press)
A graphic novel series about Otto, an elephant, whose looking for his childhood friend, George, the chimpanzee

Big City Otto
Written and illustrated by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press
88 pp.
Ages 8-11
2011

Big Top Otto
Written and illustrated by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press
80 pp.
Ages 8-11
2013

Big Star Otto
Written and illustrated by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press
96 pp.
Ages 8-11
2015







Jasper John Dooley (Kids Can Press)
Early reader about Jasper John Dooley for whom life just seems to be an endless stream of normal but hilarious events, from Show-and-Tell to hyperactivity.


Jasper John Dooley: Star of the Week
by Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Ben Clanton
Kids Can Press
128 pp.
Ages 6-9
2014
School, siblings and shenanigans

Jasper John Dooley: Left Behind
by Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Ben Clanton
Kids Can Press
132 pp.
Ages 6-9
2014
Intergenerational relationship

Jasper John Dooley: You're in Trouble
by Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Ben Clanton
Kids Can Press
124 pp.
Ages 6-9
2015
Energy drinks and hyperactivity

Jasper John Dooley: NOT in Love
by Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Ben Clanton
Kids Can Press
132 pp.
Ages 6-9
2015
Boy-girl relationships

Jasper John Dooley: Lost and Found
by Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Mike Shiell
Kids Can Press
128 pp.
Ages 6-9
2015
Toys







Justine McKeen (Orca Book Publishers)
Series about a plucky girl with a mega-heart and keen sense of environmentalism.

Justine McKeen, Queen of Green
by Sigmund Brouwer
Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Orca Book Publishers
56 pp.
Ages 7-9
2011
Recycling

Justine McKeen, Walk the Talk
by Sigmund Brouwer
Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Orca Book Publishers
64 pp.
Ages 7-9
2012
Air pollution and idling cars

Justine McKeen, Pooper Scooper
by Sigmund Brouwer
Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Orca Book Publishers
59 pp.
Ages 7-9
2012
School libraries and poop in parks

Justine McKeen, Eat Your Beets
by Sigmund Brouwer
Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Orca Book Publishers
55 pp.
Ages 7-9
2013
Wasted food and homeless animals

Justine McKeen and the Bird Nerd
by Sigmund Brouwer
Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Orca Book Publishers
64 pp.
Ages 7-9
2013
Birds

Justine McKeen vs. the Queen of Mean
by Sigmund Brouwer
Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Orca Book Publishers
53 pp.
Ages 7-9
2014
Species loss and caring for the environment







Kung Pow Chicken (Scholastic Canada)
Funny graphic novel series about the crime-fighting chicken, normally a second-grader named Gordon Blue, and his sidekick/little brother, Egg Drop. Let's Get Cracking won the Ontario Library Association's Silver Birch Express award for 2015.

#1  Let's Get Cracking
Written and illustrated by Cyndi Marko
Scholastic Canada
80 pp.
Ages 5-7
2014

#2  Bok! Bok! Boom!
Written and illustrated by Cyndi Marko
Scholastic Canada
80 pp.
Ages 5-7
2014

#3  The Birdy Snatchers
Written and illustrated by Cyndi Marko
Scholastic Canada
80 pp.
Ages 5-7
2014

#4  Heroes on the Side
Written and illustrated by Cyndi Marko
Scholastic Canada
80 pp.
Ages 5-7
2014







Martin Bridge (Kids Can Press)
Two to three stories in each book, all about eight-year-old Martin Bridge who loves space.

Martin Bridge, Ready for Takeoff!
by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
Kids Can Press
120 pp.
Ages 6-8
2005

Martin Bridge, On the Lookout!
by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
Kids Can Press
144 pp.
Ages 6-8
2005

Martin Bridge, Blazing Ahead!
by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
Kids Can Press
112 pp.
Ages 6-8
2006

Martin Bridge, Sound the Alarm!
by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
Kids Can Press
110 pp.
Ages 6-8
2007

Martin Bridge, Out of Orbit!
by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
Kids Can Press
112 pp.
Ages 6-8
2007

Martin Bridge, In High Gear!
by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
Kids Can Press
112 pp.
Ages 6-8
2008

Martin Bridge, The Sky's the Limit
by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
Kids Can Press
112 pp.
Ages 6-8
2008

Martin Bridge, Onward and Upwards!
by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
Kids Can Press
112 pp.
Ages 6-8
2009








Morgan (Formac)
Part of Formac First Readers collection, many of the Morgan books which total seventeen have already been re-issued with new covers in 2013.

Morgan Makes Magic
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
1997
School, peer pressure, magic
Morgan's Secret
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
58 pp.
Ages 6-9
2000
Secrets

Morgan Gets Cracking
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
61 pp.
Ages 6-9
2012
Teasing
Morgan and the Money
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Stolen money
Music by Morgan
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Floor hockey, piano
Great Play, Morgan
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
61 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Soccer

Morgan and the Dune Racer
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Emotions
Pucker Up, Morgan
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
School play
Campfire Morgan
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
61 pp.
Age 6-9
2013
Camping

Daredevil Morgan
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Fairs
Morgan's Birthday
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Birthday party

Morgan Makes a Splash
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Courage
Morgan Makes a Deal
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
59 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Paper routes
Super Move, Morgan!
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
2006/2013
Action figures, stealing

Morgan's Pet Plot
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
64 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Pets, allergies

Morgan on Ice
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
56 pp.
Ages 6-9
2013
Skating

Morgan's Got Game
by Ted Staunton
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Formac
55 pp.
Ages 6-9
2014
Toys






Looney Bay All-Stars (Scholastic Canada)
A series of adventures by Reese McSkittles and Looney Bay All-Stars sports team as they encounter, via a magic coin, an assortment of historical characters.

#1 Pirate Power Play
by Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Sampar
Scholastic Canada
61 pp.
Ages 7-9
2006
Hockey and pirates

#2 Attack by Knight
by Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Sampar
Scholastic Canada
66 pp.
Ages 7-9
2006
Lacrosse and knights of medieval times

#3 The Vikings Have a Field Day
by Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Sampar
Scholastic Canada
72 pp.
Ages 7-9
2007
Track-and-field and the Vikings at L'Anse aux Meadows

#4 Explorers Out of Bounds
by Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Sampar
Scholastic Canada
72 pp.
Ages 7-9
2007
Soccer and John Cabot

#5 The Emperor Strikes Out
by Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Sampar
Scholastic Canada
72 pp.
Ages 7-9
2007
Baseball and ancient Romans at the Coliseum

#6 Egyptian Slam Dunk
by Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Sampar
Scholastic Canada
72 pp.
Ages 7-9
2008
Basketball and ancient Egyptians

#7 Final Face-Off
by Helaine Becker
Illustrated by Sampar
Scholastic Canada
75 pp.
Ages 7-9
2008
Hockey and Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Drake, Martin Frobisher and the Spanish Armada






Princess Pistachio (Pajama Press)
A more challenging read than Marie-Louise Gay's much-loved picture book series about Stella and Sam, Princess Pistachio focuses on the very imaginative Pistachio and her family. 

Princess Pistachio
Written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Pajama Press
48 pp.
Ages 5-8
2014
Family, imagination
Princess Pistachio and the Pest
Written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Translated by David Homel
Pajama Press
58 pp.
Ages 5-8
2015
Siblings








A Sam & Friends Mystery (Kids Can Press)
A spooky graphic novel mysteries that features Sam, a sheepdog, whose neighbour Jennie can hear her thoughts, helping them to solve neighbourhood mysteries.

Dracula Madness
by Mary Labatt
Illustrated by Jo Rioux
Kids Can Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-8
2009

Lake Monster Mix-Up
by Mary Labatt
Illustrated by Jo Rioux
Kids Can Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-8
2009

Mummy Mayhem
by Mary Labatt
Illustrated by Jo Rioux
Kids Can Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-8
2010

Witches' Brew
by Mary Labatt
Illustrated by Jo Rioux
Kids Can Press
96 pp.
Ages 6-8
2011







Travels with my Family (Groundwood Books)
Delightful stories of holidays with mom, dad, two boys, lovingly illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

Travels with My Family
by Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel
Groundwood Books
120 pp.
Ages 7-10
2007

On the Road Again: More Travels with My Family
by Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel
Groundwood Books
144 pp.
Ages 7-10
2008

Summer in the City
by Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel
Groundwood Books
152 pp.
Ages 7-10
2012

The Travelling Circus
by Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel
Groundwood Books
144 pp.
Ages 7-10
2015





Look for my upcoming post about stand-alone novels that can be used for Grade 2 novel studies and are clearly great examples of #CanLitChoices.

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